CHICAGO -- The Cardinals are moving quickly to sign their top Draft picks, including 2016 second-rounder Connor Jones, a right-handed pitcher selected No. 70 overall.The Cardinals signed Jones on Monday, according to MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis, who reports the signing is for $1.1 million; the slot value for the 70th pick
CHICAGO -- The Cardinals are moving quickly to sign their top Draft picks, including 2016 second-rounder Connor Jones, a right-handed pitcher selected No. 70 overall.
The Cardinals signed Jones on Monday, according to MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis, who reports the signing is for $1.1 million; the slot value for the 70th pick is $920,100.
"You look at our Draft and those top players taken, we were really aggressive trying to get them [signed]," general manager John Mozeliak said Monday at Wrigley Field before the Cardinals faced the Cubs. "For us, going into that, we had a pretty good idea of where these [contracts] would end up [monetarily], and very pleased it was able to go quickly."
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Callis also reported Monday the Cardinals signed Zac Gallen, a junior right-hander from North Carolina taken in the third round with the 106th overall pick. Gallen has a fastball that sits between 90-92 mph and can touch 94. He also has a cutter/slider offering and a changeup that shows promise.
Jones, who helped the University of Virginia win its first NCAA title last season, went 11-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 2016, his junior season for the Cavaliers. Though Jones' strikeout totals weren't high -- 72 in 103 2/3 innings -- his ability to get ground-ball outs early in the count with his sinker impressed St. Louis. Jones features a fastball that reaches 93-94 mph, two breaking pitches and a changeup.
Jones led the Atlantic Coast Conference in innings pitched this season, which is why Mozeliak said the Cardinals plan to take a conservative approach to the amount of work he gets this season.
"Jones, Dakota Hudson and these guys that have pitched robust innings at college, that's something that you're going to want to monitor, and we'll be very patient with them in this first season," Mozeliak said. "It will be more of an indoctrination to what being part of the St. Louis Cardinals is all about and less focus on innings or workload."
Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.